I am in a rut. I finished school about a year and half ago. I have a job and a decent apartment. I am single, but don’t really care about that since I don’t feel lonely. I do, however, feel dissatisfied. I don’t really love my job, but I think it is too early to look for a new one. My dad says that you have to establish credibility and reliability early in your career. I just don’t know if this is even my career. It seems dull to go to an office every day, but what else is there to do? I have been thinking how exciting it would be to just move to another city far away and have an exciting new life. I have never left San Antonio, with the exception of family vacations. I grew up here, went to school here, lost my virginity here, graduated from SAC and UTSA. I totally feel like I’ve been here and done that as far as SA is concerned. I am also scared that I would miss my friends and family a lot. I have been around them forever and don’t even know if I would know how to make new friends in another city. I also think my parents would totally flip out on me. My dad is very over-protective, and my mom cried when I moved across town to my first apartment. What do you think I should do?
— Bored and lost in San Antonio
Dear Bored and Lost,
Spread your wings, little butterfly! Let your wanderlust sweep you away! I am assuming you are fairly young, and this is the time to see the world — or at least another little corner of it.
I won’t lie. I have left San Antonio and Texas more than once and returned each time (well, except for right now, as I am still in Houston, but it’s still Texas, and believe me, I’d be in SA if I could). You won’t know if it’s perfect for you till you chase the greener grass.
Going to an office every day can be very dull and slowly eat at your soul until you are swimming in the stench of your own death — but that feeling of ennui might be caused by your office, not your career. Perhaps there are other jobs you can pursue within the general career that your education prepared you for.
But even if your career is the problem, relax. The majority of individuals change vocations at some point in their lives — these days, often more than once. What are your interests outside of work? Can any of those be turned into a new career? You can always go back to school and study to be a bio-engineer or personal trainer if you like.
There are two basic ways to go about moving across country for the hell of it. The first is to pick a destination city — maybe somewhere you know someone, or just a cool place you’ve always wanted to call home. Then you look for a job. This is the benefit of having a degree and a career (even if it’s not a forever career): You and your résumé can go shopping online. The second method is to search for a job and let that lead you to a city.
I will mention that this is a good time to have secure employment, and you might consider waiting until the economic climate improves a bit. Your father is right about the reliability thing, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in the same field — employers want proof of performance and stability. If you are totally changing careers or fields, make a move at any time, but make sure you have a good performance record when you start circulating your résumé. If you are going to pursue a path in your current field, look around you and note how long people usually stay in a position like yours. I recommend only uprooting after you’ve worked the average length in the position, and then ideally through a promotion or a job change that is equivalent. A lot of lateral movement can make you look shifty. In the meantime, invest time and effort in activities outside of work: friends, hobbies, recreation. Remember, your job is only one part of your life; it doesn’t have to be the focal point.
Just take your time and make well-thought-out decisions. Your parents seem to love you. You may scare the shit out of them with a move, but they will forgive you. The best thing about home is that you can almost always go back.
Much love and excitement,
Your Uncle Mat
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